This review of the Boxcar Children series will help you decide if it’s a series you’d like to cover with your homeschool family. Included in the review are tons of FREE resources for you to use in a Boxcar Children unit study!

Free Homeschool Unit Study Printables Videos Lesson Plans for The Boxcar Children series

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What child hasn’t dreamed of living on their own in the woods, surviving off their own brilliance and wit and showing all adults that they can do this! Every child I have ever talked to about this book had the same dream, they could cook for themselves, bathe in a stream, collect berries, and be perfectly happy. This is exactly what Henry, Jessie, Violet and Bennie did.

You see, it all began when the children were orphaned. Ranging in ages from 14 down to 6 they find themselves totally on their own. After some adults talk of taking them in and turning the youngest over to an orphanage but putting the older ones to work, the children decide to take destiny into their own hands. While trying to find their way they stumble across an abandoned boxcar in the woods. The location and the boxcar make for a perfect home. The story profiles the bravery of the oldest character trying to make ends meet, and the younger ones for always looking out for one another. The children set up their home complete with a pool in the stream, small cups and dishes they have salvaged, and berries from the woods to eat. It is only the kindness of a stranger later that reunites the children with a living relative who really does have their best interests at heart. This is the first in what later became a series of mysteries, however, as with all sequels…the original is always the best.

As you read this story with your elementary school child (grade level 2-4) you just might be surprised that your older children stop what they are doing to listen as well. I know mine always do, there is just something about a child’s imagination of living off the land on their own that is intriguing.

While you read try incorporating some of these FREE activities and sites into your learning adventure, and have fun!


Free Homeschool Unit Study Printables Videos Lesson Plans for The Boxcar Children series

If you are near Virginia, go see the museum!

Like details? Checked out Plugged In’s Christian review of the book.

Here are some great discussion questions and writing prompts.

How about a free great activity guide with writing prompts and crosswords.

Feel a need to test your child’s comprehension?  Here are some tests that go along with the book.

Want to add some vocabulary work?  Here is a list of vocabulary words WITH PICTURES for the book

So what is a boxcar anyway?

Learn all about railway vehicles with this short clip.

Need a break from reading for a few chapters? Here is a  free audiobook version on youtube.

What about a nature walk, how would you identify berries? Here is a great youtube video on berry foraging. 

What if you got hurt, or had an upset stomach?  How about using some easy to identify plants as medicine?

Of course to cook and stay warm, you need a fire.  Here is how to build a fire (parental supervision of course) and a quick youtube video too!

How was medicine different in the 1920’s? Learn about medicine in the 1920s like Dr. Moore would have known both here and here.

Henry earned money by picking Cherries at  doctor Moore’s farm, learn about the cherry

Here is a great little  video on cherry harvesting

Learn about the author, Gertrude Chandler Warner who wrote this amazing classic back in 1924.

Enjoy this adventure and let your children’s imaginations soar as they too may want to go outside and prepare their own little backyard oasis while imagining themselves living in a boxcar, what a great way to keep reading in your homeschool lineup! The Boxcar Children series may be just perfect for your frugal homeschool family reading list!


Contributing author, Dawn,  homeschools her own 5 children while enjoying the simple life on their little farm.  Dawn blogs over at Incidental Farmgirl where she shares tips on natural living, gardening, farming and livestock.